19 Killed In Brazil Flooding, Landslides

The authorities did not give a figure for how many people were missing.

Military police help flood victims in the municipality of Sao Sebastiao, north coast of the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil on February 19, 2023. (Photo by Sao Sebastiao City Hall / AFP)


Flooding and landslides triggered by torrential rain in Brazil claimed at least 19 lives on Carnival weekend in Sao Paulo state, authorities said Sunday.

TV and social media footage from the town of San Sebastiao showed entire neighborhoods under water, debris from hillside houses swept away by oozing earth, flooded highways and cars destroyed by fallen trees, among other damage.

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Another 228 people were left homeless and 338 were evacuated in the coastal region north of the city of Sao Paulo, the state government said in a statement, as rescue crews raced to help those hit by the storm.

The authorities did not give a figure for how many people were missing.

Sao Paulo state governor Tarcisio de Freitas declared a state of emergency in five towns along the coast.

San Sebastiao, 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Sao Paulo and where many people from the city spend the pre-Lenten holiday weekend, was one of the hardest hit, as a record 60 centimeters (nearly a foot) of rain fell in 24 hours, city officials said.

Carnival events were cancelled.

“We have not yet gauged the scale of the damage. We are trying to rescue the victims,” said Mayor Felipe Augusto, calling the situation in the town “extremely critical.”

“We are working at nearly 50 residences that collapsed under the force of the water and there are still people buried,” he told Globonews.

More than 100 firefighters were working on the scene, with the aid of helicopters.

Soldiers were also taking part in the race to help people affected by the downpour.

Extreme weather events fueled by climate change are taking a heavy toll on Brazil.

Torrential rains last year in the city of Petropolis lead to the death of more than 230 people.